Ford Focus WRC

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Marcus Grönholm driving a Ford Focus RS WRC 06 in 2006.

The Ford Focus RS WRC is a car built for the BP Ford World Rally Team by Malcolm Wilson's M-Sport and based on the Ford Focus ST production hatchback, developed to compete in the World Rally Championship. The RS stands for Rallye Sport and the WRC for World Rally Car, the car's FIA specification.

Like all contemporary World Rally Cars, the car is heavily modified from the production version, with which it shares only the basic shape and some parts of the bodyshell. The car features four wheel drive, rather than the front wheel drive of the road car. The engine used in the 2007 Focus WRC is based on Ford's 2.0 Litre Duratec from other models in the focus range as rallying rules do not permit the standard 2.5 Litre engine of the Focus ST. As with most rally cars, the 2.0 Litre engine is heavily modified and performance was increased using a turbocharger.[1]

History

Carlos Sainz driving an RS WRC 01 at the 2001 Rally Finland.

The first version of the car was built in 1999 to replace the Ford Escort WRC. It debuted in the Monte Carlo Rally with Colin McRae and Simon Jean-Joseph behind the wheels of the two cars. It was immediately on the pace, setting many fastest stage times, but the use of an illegal water pump meant that the two cars were excluded from the event. McRae gave the Focus its first win two events later on the Safari Rally Kenya finishing over 15 minutes ahead of the second placed Toyota of Didier Auriol.

In 2003, Ford released a newly designed Focus WRC, named Focus RS WRC 03, for competition during the second part of the season. The car, with most parts redesigned from the ground up, featured a lighter body shell and a new aerodynamically enhanced front bumper and wing. Markko Märtin drove the car to two world rally victories. The 2004 and 2005 Focus WRCs were evolutions based on the RS WRC 03. The Focus RS WRC 04 won three events with Märtin at the wheel. By 2005, the car was no longer very competitive and Ford had a winless season.

From the last rally of the 2005 season, Ford campaigned a brand new model, the Focus RS WRC 06, following the launch of the new road-going version of the car. The engine chosen for this Focus was a Duratec motor developed by the French engine specialist Pipo Moteur.[2] The car took twelve world rally wins, starting with the 2006 season opener Monte Carlo Rally in the hands of Marcus Grönholm.

The Focus RS WRC 07 is based on the 2006 model, and according to Ford's technical director Christian Loriaux "the changes on the new car are mainly to save weight and to improve efficiency, driveability and performance at the bottom end of the range."[3] The car debuted very successfully at the 2007 Rally Finland as Ford's Finns Grönholm and Mikko Hirvonen took a double win. It later made history at the 2008 Swedish Rally when Jari-Matti Latvala used the car to become youngest-ever driver to win a world rally.

Mikko Hirvonen driving an RS WRC 08 in Germany.
Khalid al-Qassimi driving an RS WRC 08 in Rallye de France.

The Focus RS WRC 08 is based on the 2007 model, Ford Focus WRC 08 seen here for the first time with it's new front aero design at the Rallye Deutschland 2008 Shakedown. This is the first time Hirvonen and Latvala have driven the 08 car with the new front styling.

The 2008 version of the Focus RS WRC includes design style changes as well as engine improvements. Style changes to the grill area reflect the looks of the recently previewed Focus RS Mk II road sport car.

The rally car Focus RS WRC won four times in 2008 and has 36 WRC victories to its credit since the original model debuted in 1999.

The 2009 actual version of the Focus RS WRC includes small design style changes. Style changes to the lights frame and rear bumper the looks more of the such as Focus RS Mk II 2009 road sport car.


Gallery

References

External links

Awards
Preceded by
Toyota Corolla WRC
Autosport
Rally Car of the Year

2000, 2001
Succeeded by
Peugeot 206 WRC
Preceded by
Citroën Xsara WRC
Autosport
Rally Car of the Year

2006, 2007
Succeeded by
Incumbent